Beautiful People

“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have still found their way out of the depths.  These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen.”      ——Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We cannot control the things that happen to us, but we can grow through the pain when bad things happen.  There is a purpose, but you cannot see it yet.  He will bring good out of the most difficult situations.

The struggle up the mountain is difficult and challenging, but at the top is a view that is unimaginable.  Keep fighting the fight and win the race.

Overcoming struggles is what make us strong. We weren’t born brave. We develop it through trials, and sometimes those trials seem so unfair.  I always try to remember this is not the world that God intended for us.

Rest in knowing you are being transformed. Every defeat that brought you down, the suffering that made you feel weak, the struggles to get through each day, and every loss that broke your heart will be used for good.

Who can you reach out to today with compassion and help them on their journey and bring beauty from your pain by helping others with your own experiences?

I hope you will do that this week because everyone needs to hear the encouraging, “You got this.”

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”
—-Bob Marley

Much Love & Many Prayers,

Cindy

You Are Strong

Strong quote

Wow, I really have felt this quote the past few weeks.  Every day I wake up living with chronic pain, I have to find my strength to get back up and do it all over again.  Without a focus, living this way causes depression in me, so I have been putting all my attention on starting the support group and getting my office put back together. This has created less time for the blog.  I may be posting less, but I am still here.

I wanted to post this for those that just keep moving no matter what, keep putting one foot in front of the other, just keep going, regardless of their circumstances.  You are strong fighters working through hard, painful things every day. I know what you are going through every day.  You aren’t alone.  Just keep moving.

Move Lyrics by TobyMac

Another heartbreak day
Feels like you’re miles away
Don’t even need no shade
When your sun don’t shine, shine
Too many passin’ dreams
Roll by like limousines
It’s hard to keep believin’
When they pass you by and by
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Echoin’ inside your head
Are the words that your sweet momma said
“Shoot for the moon, my dear”
So you took aim out of this atmosphere
Between high stakes and pump fakes
You’re feelin’ like you can’t buy a break
I can hold your hand, but I can’t turn your eyes to freedom
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Hold on, hold on
Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget, so
Hold on, hold on
The Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
But it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet
So get up and move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Lift up your head now, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Lift up your head now keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Keep believin’ keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet
Songwriters: Bryan Christopher Fowler / Christopher E Stevens / Toby Mc Keehan
Move (Keep Walkin’) lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group
Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Surf’s Up

I started writing an ethical will for my three sons a couple of years ago.

I’ve never finished it because I have so much I want to tell them. I just don’t know where to stop.

An ethical will is a way to tell your loved ones your values, blessings, life lessons, hopes, and dreams for the future. It’s simple really.

It can actually be about anything you feel is valuable information to pass down to the next generation, and you do not have to wait to die to pass it on to your family members.

You can give them a copy at any time for any reason, or no reason at all.

It is not a legal document of any kind.  It’s just thoughts and things you want to share.

Don’t we all have times when we wish we had one more moment in time to tell that special person something that we value deeply?

Here is just a tiny sampling of things I have written in my ethical will of words of wisdom I want to pass on to my children.

Life is hard no matter what path you go down.

The people beside you are hurting in some way just like you. 

That’s just reality.

EVERYTHING depends on how YOU react to it.

You can try to find positive instead of looking for the negative.

It’s harder work, but it pays off with dividends:    Joy.

I guarantee you’ll have joy if you learn to ride the wave instead of drowning in the wave. 

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

JULY Chronic Pain Support Group Update:
I am waiting on the final go ahead from the community agency that is allowing me to lead a chronic pain support group at their facility locally.
I will now be making the flyers and cards to give out at doctor’s offices locally and to put up around town.
The dream is slowly coming together.  I want to thank everyone that is supporting and encouraging me; specifically, my hubby.  This is probably one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever thrown at him but he has never lost a step right beside me.  Always & Forever.
Help My Mission of helping others live the best life they can with chronic pain.
________________________
Photo Credit (I could not bring myself to crop the photo – the colors were too awesome- so it is too large but beautiful) by Paul Larkin on Unsplash 

 

 

 

The To Do List

Through tears after dinner last night, I told my hubby that I finished everything on my to-do list. I was so happy that I had finally done that one more time.

It had been years since I crossed off everything on my daily list of things to get done. Chronic pain had changed every aspect of my life.

Once upon a time, completing daily tasks was something I was proud of doing every day. They were always long lists, and I believed that meant I was having a successful day, that I was a successful person who was not lazy or unorganized.

Whether it was at work or home, it suggested the day had gone smoothly, and I could be proud. The checked boxes indicated I had been prepared for every snag or dealt with them efficiently.

But tonight, I am in severe pain. I was so excited that I placed an “X” in every box, but I was crying because of the physical pain I was enduring from being so “successful.”

Then I realized what I was doing to myself. I was judging myself by the number of checked off boxes on my notepad.

I have worked very hard to change my perspective about living with chronic pain and to live as positively as I can regardless of my situation. I have been diligent in finding what isn’t working and changing it, but this one snuck in on me.

Why do we push ourselves so hard mentally or physically past the breaking point when while living with chronic pain?

So many dreams die one by one when you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Yesterday was almost as if I was trying to prove to myself I could still do it. Well, I did do it, and it isn’t pretty. I don’t think it was worth it.

Don’t do this to yourself either. You only have one body. That family member that thinks you are lazy or the friend that just thinks you are unorganized isn’t going to donate you their body when yours gives out because you were judging yourself by what they thought of you.

I need to stop comparing myself to others and realize this is my life, not theirs and I’m the only one that needs to be happy about it. I need to decide on new ways to consider myself successful, and I need to nurture those ideas.

Today, I have put aside “the to do list.” I’m going to rest and recharge my batteries. Hopefully, I can start again tomorrow.

Be kind to your bodies out there.

Much Love and Many Prayers

Cindy

Help Support My Misson

Update on the new chronic pain support group I am starting:  I have spoken to a local mental health agency in my county about using their space for our meetings.  They seem to be very interested in the idea of a place they can send their patients who are seeing them for depression and anxiety from either chronic illness or chronic pain.  I think they were just as excited as I am. I am hoping this community agency will be a perfect match for our support group. Keep your fingers crossed.  

 

Do You Feel Stuck in Your Situation?

This morning I was thinking about my thoughts and beliefs that kept me “stuck” for so many years with deep and dark depression and anxiety from chronic pain.

I felt stuck because…

I did not have belief in myself.

I allowed others to do everything for me.

I always thought my body had to be completely healed to have a better life again.

I thought I must be weak because I can’t push through the pain, and that made me feel shame.

I became angry when doctors told me I must learn to live with it so I “dug in my heels in” that a cure must be found.

I didn’t take responsibility for my treatment. I trusted in doctors to have complete control over my treatment without question.

I believed that going to a psychologist meant the pain was only in my head.

I had untreated severe depression and anxiety due to pain.

I relied only on medication and not lifestyle changes to get through my pain.

I was grieving my “old” life and who I was before chronic pain.

I kept myself isolated at home.

I compared my life to everyone else’s “perfect” life on Facebook.

It is in my personality to resist change and to be inflexible mentally.

This is just a few reasons I could not move forward with my life.

So, how am I turning things around?I realized over time that I was the only one that can change my situation. It is a long slow process. I had given away my power a long time ago, so I had to find the strength to make the changes. I struggle so hard with making changes. I just cling to whatever I am doing, even if it isn’t the best thing for me. Change is scary.

In fighting to change for the better, I felt like I was in a cocoon pushing out an arm and a leg, occasionally punching through only to have it close back up quickly. There are days I still struggle with breaking through the difficult stuff and being consistent.

When I hit 250 lbs from being sedentary, I woke up and realized my weight issue was completely out of control. I sought out a surgeon for weight loss surgery. Part of the process is seeing a nutritionist and psychologist. Both have helped me change my life.

This was the first step in lasting change although I didn’t know it at the time.

I had to take a very long multiple choice quiz about my behaviors and beliefs. The results are used to determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery mentally and if you will commit to making the lasting changes. Needless to say, my results showed I “got issues.”

That was the beginning of my journey to healing. It was not the cure I was hoping for. I was looking for that miracle that would make my life go back to normal.

I would love to tell you I have it all figured out but I am moving very slow with the changes. We are talking tiny baby steps. Creeping ever so slowly over the past two years.

With every a-ha moment of understanding how my brain processes thoughts, I began making small changes in how I thought about myself through therapy.

For me, going over the old me and keeping what works but throwing out the no longer usable tools in my mental health toolbox has been helpful.

Has it been easy? No. It has been excruciatingly painful emotionally at times, but I have learned so much about myself and the people around me.

Becoming aware of who I really am and accepting that person even though I am different than the beliefs I was given as a child has been key to making changes.

It is just the starting point sitting across from a mental health professional. You have to get over the hump of using your brain to control your thoughts.

Most everyone has heard the buzz word “mindful.” It is having control of your immediate thoughts and changing your negative belief pattern while living in the moment, not in the past or future but right in the present.

Feeling stuck, lonely, and depressed is no way to go through life. Some people do not win the battle, and that makes me very sad.  I hope I reach someone today that feels defeated and they seek out professional help.

You can choose to take control of your thoughts. There is no shame in seeking out help. The medical doctors are not taught how to handle emotions and mental health issues that chronic pain causes.

Medical doctors have very little training in treating a patient’s emotional pain from chronic pain. Mental health services should be offered when you are diagnosed with chronic pain and not at the end when they do not know what to do with you anymore. They leave you emotionally damaged by chasing miracles and expensive alternative treatments they offer when they cannot do anything else for you.

A psychologist or other mental health professional should be a part of the chronic pain treatment plan in the beginning, and it should be covered entirely by insurance.

Don’t stay stuck.You really can feel happiness in the midst of chronic pain.

I promise it is worth the hard work. The first step is believing in yourself and that you are worth the work. I believe in you.

Join me in taking my own advice today. Stop the negative thoughts by challenging each one. People say “get out of your head,” but I think we need to “get in our head” to have a happy life no matter the situation or surroundings.

One thing no one can take away from you is your attitude.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Help Support My Mission

The Mystery Blogger Award

The-Mystery-Blogger-Award-2A big thank you to Tasha over at Pain Warrior Code for the nomination. Her message is full of hope, especially for our hard days with chronic pain, but her message is universal. Her Pain Warrior Code can be applied to any type of pain whether emotional or physical. She has a passion for encouraging other chronic pain warriors to keep their eye on the prize.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?
“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

3 Things About Me:

  1. I love to write with pen and paper instead of typing on a keyboard.  There is just something about the flow of ink on the paper. My thoughts are fluid when I write that way.
  2. I know all the words to each song on the orginal Grease soundtrack.
  3. I always have Charms suckers in my pocketbook.  I love them because they have chewing gum in the middle.

I nominate:

Nan – The Depression Free Garden

Positively Alyssa – Fight MS Daily

Simply Wendi – Simply Chronically Ill

and anyone else that wants to participate.

My Answers:

1) What made you want to start blogging?

Honestly, finding out that many chronic pain patients are commiting suicide because their pain is not being treated properly. I needed something I could do from home and blogging made sense to me.

I prayed for years for God to give me a passion for something, something I couldn’t live without doing.  I did not know that he would bring it to fruition through my own struggles with living with chronic pain.    

2) As this award is about blogs that inspire and motivates – do you as a nominee have a mantra, proverb or saying that you live by? 

I have the words “Still I rise.”  tattooed on my inner wrist to remind me I am strong.  I have survived. People think it is from Maya Angelo’s poem but it is inspired from Micah 7:8. The other part of the tattoo is “I am God’s beloved.”  It is a reminder to myself to live loved.

3) If you had to choose one meal that you had to eat everyday for a month (without any health consequences), what would it be?

Hands down, provolone cheeseburger on fresh baked bun with lettuce, mayo & mustard and deep fried french fries. Since you said MEAL, and I consider dessert part of dinner, I would end it with blueberry cheesecake.  

4) What is your favourite hobby/pass time?

Anybody that knows me would probably say talking, so I’ll go with that one.  

5) What’s the best / worst practical joke that you’ve played on someone or that was played on you?

I usually give myself away very quickly when I have played a practical joke. I am not very good at them because of that, so I do not have any vivid memories of any jokes I played on anyone.  

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. What’s the most surprising self-realization you’ve had?
  2. How do you hope you will change as a person in the future?
  3. What is the most annoying question that people ask you (if you have a chronic illness/pain, what is the most annoying question that people ask you about your illness/pain)?
  4. What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of and why?
  5. What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?

This was fun!  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers. Tasha, sorry this took me so long!

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

 

Ways to Emerge as Who You Want To Be

discoveryPhoto by Micah Hill on UnsplashBeing authentic is the emergence of your genuine self. It is when we arrive at who WE say we are and we do not rely on how others define us.

Being true to ourselves allows our actions to align with what our core believes.

When there is a shift in our actions that cause conflict with our inner beliefs, difficulties will arise in our life creating speed bumps and sometimes complete roadblocks making us feel stuck.

When you have chronic pain, it increases and complicates the roadblocks further. Like when someone asks how you are doing.  I’ve always had trouble answering that question.

My hubby and I have code words. If I tell someone I am “peachy” then he knows the pain level is high, but I don’t want to complain. Most people do not understand the experiences people with pain go through.

It’s easier to just say you are fine. This false response creates stress because we want to be real about our experience and the pressure of not being authentic creates more pain; physical and emotional. So, we are not helping ourselves when we lie about how we feel because it is easier for others to accept or so that we don’t have to say no.

mirrorPhoto by Taylor Smith on Unsplash.jpg

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it a familiar friend or a distant relative?

SIGNS YOU AREN’T LIVING AN AUTHENTIC LIFE

You are a people pleaserdo you do things for others out of guilt? Feeling like you must do everything for everyone will get in the way of your self-care.

Honoring others is important but not at the expense of our health. It is not selfish to take the time for ourselves.

Some days I find my body exhausted and in excruciating pain. I only have myself to blame sometimes because I did not say no to a request or make the time to take care of myself.

Refueling yourself is the best way to be able to give to others

You question your own thoughtsdo you rely on others to validate your feelings? Doubt fuels negative thinking. We can find ourselves quickly spiraling down when we doubt ourselves. I constantly doubt myself. I doubt myself right now while I am writing this! On some days my unbelief in myself can be paralyzing.

You compare yourself to others – do you feel like other people have it all together and you don’t? I have a love-hate relationship with social media. So much of it is fake. No one and I mean no one has a perfect life. A friend of mine told me that her daughter would spend hours taking selfies to post one picture online. Hours to post one picture! Live who you are.

You blame others for your problems to avoid dealing with them- do you accept responsibility for your actions? Isn’t it easier to blame someone else?  It takes the pressure off of ourselves and relieves the feeling that we need to take some action. There is a little part of everyone that does not want to accept responsibility for the things we do. Not taking control of your actions is just denying there is a problem and denial will keep you stuck. Look at yourself honestly but remember to look with love also.

girl on rock stuck

When we do not live authentically, we become stuck where we are at in life which can lead to depression and anxiety.

I developed severe anxiety and depression after the back and leg pain began to be daily in 2014. I lived in the pit with all of these things I listed above and it kept me frozen with fear. I did not want to leave my house or see anyone.  And I definitely didn’t want anyone coming over and seeing my home.

Over the past 2 years, I have worked very hard on trying to stop the control that fear has over my life.  I have picked up a few tips on living authentically I’d like to share with you. It will give you a few tools to find your happy place by learning to live and love who you really are, even with chronic pain.  Your life can still be exceptional!

HOW TO EMERGE AS WHO YOU WANT TO BE

Decide to accept yourself. We need to love ourselves on purpose as we are at this exact moment. We can choose to love ourselves like we can choose to be angry or to be sad.

Accepting ourselves can be especially hard if we feel our body has let us down because we have chronic pain.

Living in a shell of a body that always seems to fail can make us feel unworthy of joy if we allow it to.

We each need to meet ourselves where we are at in this world and begin a real journey of self-discovery. We are exquisitely made by our Creator. Be you.

Make a list of your strengths. Whatever we are good at should be celebrated. With chronic pain, life can be challenging.

Think of all that you have overcome and put it on this list. You are reading this, so you are still standing. We may have lost some of our strengths, but we cannot forget to remind ourselves of what we can still accomplish.

I promise you that you can continue to have fulfillment with chronic pain. Dig deeper, and you can find new ways to be strong. Don’t forget you are intelligent and creative.

Stop listening to the negative voice in your head. Our minds are powerful, and we can decide where our thoughts go. Your thoughts also decide your next steps in life.

Just remember that we would probably never speak to other people the way that we talk to ourselves.

Slow down your thoughts to find out what you are saying to yourself and change the dialogue to be who you want to be.

Distance yourself from the people that do not believe in you. Your feelings and thoughts are important.

We need to surround ourselves with people that will nurture us, helping us reach our true potential, not tearing us down or keeping us stuck.

Grieve your previous life before your chronic pain or illness. I wish I had a magical way of going through grief without any pain, but everyone is much too different to have one tried and true way to get through grief. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance and are a part of the framework that helps us understand what we are experiencing when we grieve a loss. I would suggest if you feel stuck in any of the stages of grief to seek out professional help.

Spend time doing the things you love. I am doing a complete overhaul of how I spend my time every day. I feel like I don’t have time for everything I want to accomplish. I have found that I need to make blocks of time and set them aside for the things that I enjoy doing. Find what you love and do it.

Communicate with the people around you.  I understand now that I need to communicate truthfully with the people close to me. It is incredible how much of a difference being real has helped with feeling good mentally and physically. I encourage you to do it but if you haven’t had a voice in a while.  Go easy on those around you. Explain to them the things you want to change in your life and recruit their help.

unexpected surprise.jpg

You can live your whole life and never reveal your real self to the world. What a shame that would be not to be truly known. You can decide today to live authentically and find happiness. You can learn to love yourself and even be proud of yourself. It creates better life opportunities and promotes creativity. It empowers us to live our best life, even with chronic pain.

Your life is not over. In some ways, when you get to this vantage point of living authentically, your life has just begun.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Photo by Micah Hill on Unsplash

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

Photo by Ivan Karasev on Unsplash

Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash

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The Mystery Blogger Award

The-Mystery-Blogger-Award-2Thank you so much to Anita at Discovering Your Happiness, for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! Thank you for this unexpected honor and encouragement! Anita has a phenomenal blog about living a positive life.  One of my favorites of her blog is Your Depression Doesn’t Define You.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?
“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

3 Things About Me:

  1. I am a music freak; all kinds except cannot handle hard rap or opera. I could not live without Spotify and the variety of music it offers.
  2. I am addicted to Pepsi’s.  Yes, I know it is awful stuff.  I’ve admitted I have a problem.  They say that’s the first step. 😉
  3. I love receiving FabFitFun subscription boxes. I have not been disappointed yet.

My Nominees in No Particular Order:

My Answers:

  • What is your 2018 goal?   My biggest goal is to go to a support group training and to start a local or online chronic pain support group.
  • What is one of your biggest accomplishments? Learning how precious life is before it is too late and living life to the fullest which includes learning to listen with curiosity.
  • If you could pack up & move, where would you go? Somewhere at a very warm beach with clear water.
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Leading a support group, helping others navigate the chronic pain life and live fully, and advocating for chronic pain patients. I would love to have my psychology degree within 5 years but not sure if it’s doable, but I can dream about it.
  • What is one of your biggest fears? My biggest fear is that I haven’t learned from the past.

 

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
  2. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
  3. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
  4. What are your 2018 goals?
  5. Who is your favorite musical band?

This was fun!  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy